The Admirals won 2-1 against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night to narrow the gap in the Midwest Division to two-points between the top three teams. The Magnus Hellberg Show continued as the big Swede only allowed one-goal from twenty-nine shots. And the blue liners did the scoring tonight with both Garrett Noonan and Joe Piskula lighting the lamp.
“That is a good hockey team,” said head coach Dean Evason of the Rockford IceHogs. “Magnus definitely played great yesterday. And we weren’t very good today. Certainly early in the hockey game and he kept us in the hockey game. Allowed us to find our legs after the first period. He played as good as they played as of late.”
Tonight was the IceHogs turn to score the opener. The IceHogs had a power-play that just expired as T.J. Brennan passed off to the right wing circle for a Teuvo Teravainen one-timer that scorched through Magnus Hellberg. It’s his second goal of the season.
Then came the fisticuffs. Mike Liambas popped Brennan with a check behind Scott Darling’s net. This attracted the attention of Garret Ross and the two tied up. Liambas got bloodied a little bit in this tilt. That’s enough for me to give the edge in the fight card to Ross.
The fighting continued in the first period when Rich Clune and Cody Bass dropped the mitts. This bout had a heck of a Rock Em Sock Em Robots start. Plenty of punches landed flush and Clune ended up getting a take down to make it 1-1 in the fight department through twenty minutes.
In the second period we saw a Colton Sissons cast himself into the running for the biggest hit in the AHL this season. During his shift, Sissons was all over the place after requiring a new stick from the bench. Once he settled back in he had Dennis Rasmussen in his crosshairs. The IceHog defenseman was swooping in behind his own net with his head down and Sissons buried him.
“We’ve talked about [Sissons] a lot just being a pro but he has played a really heavy game as of late,” said Evason. “Stan [Drulia] just mentioned upstairs that it’s as heavy a game as he’s seen him play these last two. And they’re hard games.”
The direct result of the check was Sissons first career fight as a pro. Klas Dahlbeck instantly came to the aid of his defensive battery-mate. And the end result was two extra penalties on the Rockford d-man. Sadly, the Admirals failed to capitalize from the four-minutes worth of power-play time that followed the Sissons check and fight.
After several times of holding the puck too long, and passing instead of shooting, the Admirals finally found the back of the net. Garrett Noonan blistered a wrister against the grain, right wing to blocker side of Darling, to score his second goal of the season and equalize for the Ads – making it a 1-1 game through forty-minutes.
With 7:32 remaining in regulation the Admirals took their first lead of the game on the captain’s first goal of the season. Felix Girard fed Joe Piskula the puck and he hammered it first time from the right point. It belted on by Darling and the Ads went ahead 2-1. It’s Piskula’s first goal since 3/12/14 against the Iowa Wild… or was it?
“It wasn’t Piskula’s goal,” smiled former-Admiral netminder Scott Darling. “Just so he doesn’t get a big head. [Triston] Grant tipped it in.”
With Darling to the bench on for the extra attacker – the IceHogs pressed hard for a solid 1:45 of ice time. The Admirals were able to hold on and Magnus Hellberg was once again the man in the win column. He stopped twenty-eight of twenty-nine shots on goal to record his fifth win in five starts. He currently has an AHL best for goals against average (0.78) and save percentage (0.969).
“All weekend Magnus was solid,” said Darling. “He did his job but the guys were really good in front of him. The [Admiral] forwards were pretty dynamic. Miikka, it’s nice to have them on your team. It’s not as much fun to play against them.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals included Patrick Cehlin, Joe Pendenza, and Jonathan Diaby. Also, tonight the Milwaukee Admirals retired Zombie Nation’s “Kernkraft 400” as their goal song. It was replaced with a song called “Slapshot” that is very familiar to those of you New York Rangers fans. The change came via player request. The next time we see these Rockford IceHogs will be on 11/22/14 in Rockford. The next home meeting between them isn’t until the start of December. I can’t wait for more of the same.
Has this weekend made you feel more confident in your 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals? How important has the play in net from Magnus Hellberg been behind these two wins against Rockford?